'Puma in trouble on its way back from Murmansk', Kjesti Album's headline news item set alarm bells ringing in Norway when it was published in the environmental online publication Naturvernvorbundet just before Christmas. Somewhat clandestinely, the Danish ship had sailed along Norway's north-west seaboard a week earlier to Murmansk, Russia, loaded with 333 tons of weapons-grade nuclear hazardous waste from a Serbian research facility. The 1994 built, 2120 dwt Puma attracted unwelcome publicity on the way back south from the Barents Sea, close by the northern coast of Norway, when crew were unable to stop the engine room flooding from a damaged sea-water inlet valve and assistance had to be called. Norwegians breathed a collective sigh of relief when they heard that all hazardous waste cargo had already been offloaded, but still the Puma was in danger of foundering in these icy waters off the coast of North Norway.
Map: Courtesy of BarentsObserver.com
Hazardous Waste Trade to Russia... [More]
Tags: nuclear waste, hazardous waste, patched up, nick of time, north sea, puma, norway, norwegian, murmansk, barents sea, miko
Last month a system called ShipArrestor was tested by consortium leader Miko Marine AS, Norway as part of a two year EU funded program started in Oct 2008 to try to develop a system to prevent such disasters. In the 1990’s there was a Norwegian project called NepCon which researched possible ways to bring a stricken ship under control. It was impractical for a number of reasons but mainly because ropes chaffed and when substituted with chain of sufficient strength. it was too heavy for the helicopter to lift it! Under the ShipArrestor program a special steel chain is used that is lighter than the proposed titanium chain. So the helicopter can drop the lasso over the windlass is achieved by putting the chain inside an inflatable collar of about 6m diameter. Once the windlass is ringed, a 30m diameter sea anchor can be deployed to bring the bow round, reduce roll and slow the drifting until a tug can commence towing. In June 2010, the complete ShipArrestor system was tested and was considered a major success in proving its functionality and practicability, however the calm weather conditions were too good to give any definite indication as to how the system would behave in a real life situation. Further tests will be made: the program is due to run to September 2010. [More]